NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Hague Pharmacy at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters closed abruptly on Wednesday after its lease was terminated, leaving patients confused and worried about how they’ll get needed medications.
“We regret to inform you that our pharmacy will be closing its doors effective immediately. Unfortunately, our lease was terminated by the hospital today and we will no longer be able to provide the care and services you have come to know and trust from us at Hague Pharmacy at CHKD,” the pharmacy said on its website.
Owner Ritesh Patel told WAVY he received an email from CHKD that the pharmacy’s lease was terminated at noon on Wednesday. The doors were then locked at 2 p.m., leaving customers wondering what happened. The Hague was just one a few pharmacies in the area that does compounding of medications.
WAVY reached out to CHKD for comment, and a spokesperson said the pharmacy “had not fulfilled its lease and service obligations to CHKD and its patients for many months,” leading to the closure on Wednesday.
“We apologize for any inconvenience that this unavoidable situation causes to our patients, families, physicians and employees,” the statement adds. CHKD didn’t say if a new pharmacy may fill the Hague space.
Patel acknowledged that the pharmacy has had financial issues, including late rent payments. He said he had asked CHKD to purchase the store and that they had been in talks before CHKD decided to terminate the lease.
He added the abrupt decision left him no time to notify his 10 employees, who are now out of a job, and customers who he worries may be left waiting for medications. His request for a 60 to 90 day window to ease transition for both was denied, he says.
Chesapeake resident Rebecca Bryce, who has two medically compromised children, is one of those customers. She said the pharmacy’s closure was a “shock, but it wasn’t a shock.”
“The Hague has been going downhill drastically over the last six months, to the point that I actually started transferring me and my kids’ meds in January because we were not getting things that were critical to my daughter’s care like her seizure medication,” Bryce said.
“The final straw was back in December,” Bryce added. “[The medication] was supposed to be on auto-fill, and we were completely out, and I was calling them and they were like ‘oh, we really don’t know what happened.’ And that’s been happening a lot. So I’m not really surprised they got shut down, but it has such a huge impact.”
CHKD did give a list of nearby pharmacies on its website at chkd.org, and says anyone with questions about the prescriptions can still call The Hague Pharmacy at (757) 881-1126 in the meantime. Irwin’s Pharmacy on Indian River Road in Chesapeake is listed as CHKD’s preferred compounding pharmacy, about 6 miles away.
Bryce said the issue is that many customers who were already having issues at The Hague will now turn to place such as Irwin’s, which will lead to them “being absolutely inundated because everyone I know is saying ‘switch to Irwin’s, switch to Irwin’s.”
She also is worried about a larger ripple effect across the local health care system.
“The biggest impact is that they didn’t transfer the prescriptions. They didn’t call anyone and say ‘hey where do you want us to send these,’ no they said call your prescribers … so now you’re going to have thousands of parents and patients calling these doctors who are understaffed … and it’s gonna create a massive, massive issue getting through to prescribers.”
Bryce says ultimately CHKD should have had a backup plan in place, and should have notified customers well ahead of the change.
“Shutting it down with absolutely no notice was irresponsible, it was dangerous and it was reckless.”